Uses of Helium

Helium’s unique properties make it essential for vital technologies that affect our lives every day.

Helium is an inert gas produced by the decay of uranium and thorium that can be trapped in underground reservoirs proximal to the source. Its unique physical properties make it vital for several high technology applications where there is often no substitute. Helium's low boiling point and non-reactive nature make it vital for the pressurization and purging of liquid fuels in rockets for space exploration and satellite infrastructure. Helium is also required for semiconductor manufacturing, MRI machines and certain welding applications due to its high heat capacity. A well-known but minor use is as a lifting gas in balloons and airships.

Space Exploration & Defense Applications

Helium is used in space exploration and defense applications. Helium has unique properties such that it is the only gas that can be used to pressurize the liquid fuels that power the rockets driving space exploration, as well as the blimps and airships that have other applications within the atmosphere.

Semiconductor Manufacturing

Helium is required for the manufacture of semiconductors, fiber optics, liquid crystal displays and many other applications.  If you ever use a computer or an Internet connection, helium was required to make the equipment and components necessary to make these products and systems work.

Advanced Medical Imaging Equipment

Helium is used in advanced medical imaging equipment like MRIs, providing the super cooling needed for the creation of powerful magnetic fields by these devices.

Advanced Scientific Research

Helium is used in a variety of advanced scientific research applications where super cooling and powerful magnetic fields are required.  Applications such as mag-lev trains, superconducting electrical transmission lines, quantum computing, and cutting-edge scientific installations like CERN (https://home.cern/) and ITER (https://www.iter.org/) are all examples.

Demand for Helium

New potential sources of demand for helium are appearing all the time. From new, low-cost reusable rockets for space launches and significant increases from semiconductor manufacturing, to the advancement of nuclear fusion research, and new therapies targeting cancer cells with ion beams, helium’s unique properties make it increasingly vital to our present and our future.